On The Run: Volume One

The Biebs and R.E.M.

Chad W. Lutz
​Music and movement have gone hand-in-hand since the first cave dwellers pounded out beats with saber tooth tiger bones and shook their Neanderthal fannies in front of blazing fires. Okay, maybe that never happened, but it's a great visual image to work with, and I'd like to think at least one primitive homo sapien was funky enough to get down. If I were a Neanderthal, I'd get down.

Today, the modern human has iPods and Bluetooth and a million other devices to enable the sounds of their favorite artists to pound out in their ears practically anywhere. For many, music is a pastime as near and dear as drive-ins, baseball, and apple pie are to the traditional American architype. Some would probably even go so far as cite music as religion. I'm pretty close to that church of thought, but perhaps not quite to that level in recent years.

What I have done to tend my musical faith is religiously listen to music while I run, often at the expense of people I run with. They can deal with it. Over the last five years I've explored genre after genre and discography after discography of some of the most heralded, obscure, local, and polarized music I can get my hands on. No artist, style, or time period is off limits. The music I listen to is sometimes just as therapeutic as the runs I go on themselves.

And on that note, as Volume One of an ongoing series, here are some of the jams I've been rocking as of late:

R.E.M. - Everybody Hurts (1993)

​Sometimes it's good to remind ourselves the pain we feel is universal, especially if it's emotional. But running provides a mutant combination of emotional and physical pain that, as athletes (and human beings, really) we all have to break through in order to find enjoyment in the things we're undertaking, even if it is only putting one foot in front of the other.

Michael Stipe and Co. artfully demonstrate the pain we all feel and the necessity to keep going, keep pushing, even when we feel like we have nothing left to give. This song is both sad and inspiring, which is why it's wound its way through my headphones with a little more regularity as of late. It's been a welcome combatant against the winter blues and, if you're an athlete, it may help you stay the course.

​Skrillex and Diplo with Justin Beiber - Where Are Ü Now (2015)

​Sometimes you just want to let it all hang out, and there are only a handful of people who give fewer fucks in this world than Justin Bieber. In true Skrillex fashion, "Where Are Ü Now" is like robot sexy music. One listen and the corkscrew hook will be stuck in your head for days on end, while the steadily increasing rhythms during the drops will have you unconsciously bouncing in your chairs (or dancing in the streets on the run if you're like me). Never mind that it's Justin Bieber. Never mind that Skrillex was relevant a thousand years ago. This song has it. And the video is worth a watch, too.

​John Two-Hawks – Horse Spirit (2014)

​I don't know if everyone feels this way, but for me, running is something primal. There are times where I'm running on bike trails through the woods or through the rolling hills of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where I feel like I'm an early explorer or, depending on how fast I'm going, an ancient warrior racing toward battle. Artists like John Two-Hawks, who himself is a full-born Lakota tribesman, captures the essence of nature and the spirit of the universe. Two-Hawks plays wind flute on the album featuring acoustic guitar and soft percussion to tell the story of his people, primarily the relationship between horses and the Lakota on the American Great Plains. If you're looking for something inspiring yet transcendental, look no further than John Two-Hawks' Horse Spirit.

​Martin Sexton – Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout You (1996)

​There isn't much I can't say about this song, so I'll try to keep it brief. Sexy, seductive, dangerous, provocative, sultry, soulful; "Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout You" is everything you would want out of a breakup song and more. It's an examination of how vulnerable and exposed we are to Love once we're in its grasps. Runners and athletes of all breeds can relate to this, especially marathoners. Once you're in the heart of the beast, a lot of times, there's no turning back. The line "Loving you is like loving a house on fire," reminds me just how crazy running really is, especially when it's five below with the wind chill. There's something sinisterly alluring about marathons that continues to convince me there's merit to running ten, twenty, thirty miles at a pop, just like there's something sinisterly alluring about Sexton's seminal song. The cover my friends in local group Svobodaband do is even more haunting. Feel free to hound them for an EP.

​Halsey – New Americana (2015)

​I could honestly write about her entire album, but I already have, so I'll spare you the additional marginalia. The standout track on the New Jersey native's debut release is unanimously her powerhouse romp "New Americana." If this song doesn't get your hipster blood pumping, then sir, madam, I just don't know what'll do it for you. It's raucous, loud, and erupts with serious bite. It's the ultimate Millennial rebellion track.
​Well, there you have it: the music my ears are currently fiending with absolutely no remorse. Feel free to message us on Facebook or shoot us an email if you have some music you think we should check out. Otherwise, happy sportsing and happy musics.